This article was published on May 4th Youth Day by the Party’s newspaper Study Times
The author is Lian Si, director of Youth Development Research Center at University of International Business and Economics, director of Secretary at Beijing University’s China and the World Research Center. He is a very young scholar, born in 1980.
1, Looking around the world, we could see that growing in the increasingly synchronized and globalized setting, young people’s identification base is not old family tradition, local customs or ethnic characters anymore; rather, the soft environment of modern broadcasting and hard environment of industrialization are increasingly becoming the decisive forces to guide the youth all over the world. Standardized industrialization creates similar working environment and it is replacing localized production; modernized and pragmatic broadcasting is also replacing grandiose political ideology. These two new forces erase geographical differences. They are creating a new social spatial structure. The standard of its boundaries is based on youth people’s work and lifestyle, value system and rights to appeal. in this new space, people’s old identities are fading and new identities are slowly emerging. People’s identification, self-labeling and sense of belonging will change as well. This is serious challenge for the existing constructor of ideology.
2, If our ideological propaganda wants to impress and engage with young people, we can’t make it too explicit or the political attitude too stiff. Concepts, themes and attitudes need to be hidden in materials, plots and details. We need to touch people’s minds and hearts. In ideological work, we don’t lack correct themes or core values, but we lack a good way of expression and the capability to broadcast. There is also ideology in the West -- it is just they are very good at expressing themselves. Some American films are of large scale and there are engaging plots, tearing details and inspirational thoughts. After watching them, people get excited or lose sleep and eventually come to the realization that the US is so good. It becomes an active choice. Actually, this is “invisible” ideological work.
3, Currently our ability to have this kind of “invisible” ideological work is far from good enough. This needs creation, delicate design and subtle ways of expression. In a nutshell, when we engage with the youth, we need to convince them with the forces of science, truth and intelligence, rather than big words, vague words and packaged words. We should take advantage of knowledge and thoughts, and touch youth with real stories and plain languages. We should hide mainstream ideology in storylines and parachute abstract ideology in real life scenarios. Therefore mainstream ideology will traverse between rational concepts and sensual knowledge, and there will be communication and dialogue between mainstream ideology and young people. Eventually we strive for maximum consensus.